The Monrovia Raceway, a kart track located adjacent to the 75-80 Dragway near Carroll County, has had its ups and downs.
When it is operating, the track provides young and old the opportunity to race inexpensively. About four years ago, after a brief revival, the track closed for what many thought was the final time.
As the track sat abandoned, it became evident that it would take someone special to re-open the facility, someone who was dedicated to racing and was willing to put the necessary time and money into it.
Now George Streaker has brought the track back to life, bigger and better than ever. The Sykesville resident has transformed the facility into a first-class operation in less than two years and is attracting competitors every week from a four-state area and beyound.
More than 100 racers are at Monrovia for a weekly show from a 40-mile radius For special events, they come from throughout the East Coast.
Streaker, a former sprint car driver, wasnt looking for a track to operate. It was just one of those things that happen.
"I heard about the track from a friend and decided to ride by and take a look at it," said Streaker "The owner, Bill Wilcom, happened to be at the dragstrip and we began talking. The next thing I knew, the track was mine. It was a spur of the moment-type thing. Sort of an impulse like when you buy a car."
Buying a car would have been easier. Streaker has been busy ever since, constantly making improvements and operating the track on weekends. Having his own business, Streaker Construction Company of West Friendship, has helped when it came to making improvements.
"We have re-paved the entire road course and added an oval course, along with new lights," said the 40-year-old Streaker. "The place was pretty bad; we pretty much had to do the whole thing."
Streaker is new to operating a track, but not new to racing. He started going to races as a youngster in the early 60's, helping out as a crew member for sprint car driver Irvin King. As soon as he was old enough and had enough money, Streaker purchased two cars from King and began his own racing career that covered ten years from 1978-1988.
Streaker had a successful career, his best year coming in 1986 when he finished in the top ten in points at Lincoln Speedway. He retired from racing in 1987 when his wife had their first child.
While Streaker never raced again, he has always been involved with the sport in one way or another. "Racing is addictive," said Streaker. "You can never get away from it. People stay involved in different ways. There may be cures for other addictions, but not for racing."
Before Streaker took over Monrovia, he was and still is involved in quarter-midget racing with his son, George Jr. He races at the Quarter-midget club in Hagerstown and has competed in national events in Indianapolis. Despite his busy schedule, Streaker still gets to the sprint races on most weekends and stays in touch with the drivers.
Streaker has made Monrovia a great place for the family. There are between 12 and 14 different classes that cover everyone from 9 years of age to a senior division for adults 35 and over. Classes are divided by age, weight and type of kart and motor.
Many former drivers who raced at Beltsville and Dorsey Speedways are racing karts now, battling one another on the asphalt course the way they did back in the 60s. For others, the low cost of kart racing allows them to live out their fantasy of racing. One can go racing for less than $2,000.
To keep it a family sport, Streaker does not charge general admission, so parents, grandparents and friends can watch the races free. Only the driver and pit crew pay a minimum charge to cover insurance.
Streaker's family helps with the operation. His wife, Alisa, helps with the concession stand and children Shalanei, George Jr. and Harles help wherever they can. George Jr. is expected to follow his father's footsteps in sprint car racing once he finishes quarter-midget racing.
Streaker has enjoyed his labor of love. It brings him great satisfaction seeing so many familes come together and enjoy racing. There are no purses to race for, just trophies. Streaker believes all the family fun would disappear if he started posting a payoff.
Now that Monrovia has been rescued and is operating again, Streaker is not done. He is already planning his next project.
"I would like to build a place where people can race indoors in the winter," he said. A place where we could have different types of racing each week, just enough for each class to get through the off-season. I would race quarter-midgets one week, karts the next, then motorcycles. That's what I want to do next."
Last weekend, Gary Stuhler of Westminster won two STARS Racing Series events at Cumberland and Winchester Speedways The week before, Stuhler won the STARS late model event at Williams Grove Speedway. In three races, Stuhler has pocketed over $15,000.
In other racing at Hagerstown Speedway, Kenny Dillon, of Owings Mills won the pure stock feature. At Lincoln Speedway, Cris and Darren Eash of Woodbine finished 3-4 in the super sprint feature Jesse Wentz of Manchester was tenth Fred Cullum of Hampstead was 10th in the thundercar feature.
At Trail-Way Speedway, Steve Owings of Westminster won the micro-sprint feature Jerry Parrish of Westminster was third. In the Classic Car feature, Bill Brown of Westminster was second, followed by Duane Fabrick of Hampstead, Glenn Elliott of Westminster and Bill Bollinger of Finksburg. At 75-80 Dragway, Mickey Kappes of Westminster won Class II and Gary Warthen of Mt. Airy won the street class.